State-owned Coal India's fuel allocation under the exclusive e-auction scheme for the non-power sector rose over three-folds to 3.91 million tonnes in April. Coal India Ltd (CIL) had allocated 1.20 million tonnes of dry fuel to the sector under the scheme in April 2019, as per latest government data.
This growth comes amid CIL looking to tap the non-power sector to consume its coal in the wake of a slump in demand for the dry fuel.
For the entire fiscal (2019-20), the PSU's coal allocation under the scheme dropped to 8.03 million tonnes from 11.36 million tonnes in the previous year.
No dry fuel was allocated in March 2020, whereas in the same month of 2019, 1.93 million tonnes of coal was booked under the scheme, data showed.
The scheme was launched in 2015-16 to make coal available to non-power consumers, including captive power plants.
CIL, which has sufficient stock coal, is grappling with a slump in demand for the dry fuel.
The power sector is one of the major consumers of Coal India.
In a bid to give a push to the demand for dry fuel, the Centre had even asked generating companies, including NTPC, Tata Power, Reliance Power to reduce the import of dry fuel for blending purposes and replace it with domestic coal.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also earlier asked to target thermal coal import substitution, particularly when a huge coal stock inventory is available in the country this year.
Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi had also written to state chief ministers asking them not to import dry fuel and take domestic supply of fuel from CIL.
In a bid to give a boost to coal demand hit by the ongoing lockdown, the government announced several relief measures for CIL consumers, including the power sector.
The ministry had also approved relaxation in quantity of coal for linkage consumers.
Coal India accounts for over 80% of domestic coal output.
(Writing by Becky Du Editing by Tammy Yang)
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